Jiang Zemin

General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1989 to 2002

Jiang Zemin (17 August 192630 November 2022) was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (1989-2002) and the President of the People's Republic of China (1993-2003).

Tell you what, I've been through hundreds of battles. I've seen it all.






  • A review of our party's seventy-plus-year history elicits an important conclusion. Our party earned the people's support during the historical periods of revolution, construction and reform because it always represented the requirements for developing China's advanced productive forces, the orientation of China's advanced culture and the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people. The party also earned popular support because it fought tirelessly to realize the fundamental interests of the country and the people by formulating a correct line, principles and policies. Today, humanity once again stands at the beginning of a new century and a new millennium. How our party can better effectuate the Three Represents under the new historical conditions is a major issue all Party comrades, especially high-ranking party cadres, must consider deeply.
  • The Communist Party of China should represent the development trends of advanced productive forces, the orientations of an advanced culture and the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people of China.
  • We want to learn from the west about science and technology and how to manage the economy, but this must be combined with specific conditions here. That's how we have made great progress in the last twenty years.
  • You are very familiar with western ways, but you are too young. You go everywhere to follow the big news, but the questions you ask are too simplesometimes naïve. Understand, or not?
  • This experience and the historical experiences gained by the Party since its founding can be summarized as follows: Our Party must always represent the requirements for developing China's advanced productive forces, the orientation of China's advanced culture and the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people. These are the inexorable requirements for maintaining and developing socialism, and the logical conclusion our Party has reached through hard exploration and great praxis.
    • Work report at the Communist Party of China Congress (8 November 2002), as quoted in Selected Works of Jiang Zemin, Eng. ed., FLP, Beijing, 2013, Vol. III, p. 519.

"Too simple, sometimes naïve"


On 27 October 2000, Hong Kong reporters attended Jiang's press conference. Questions were raised by Sharon Cheung over the re-election campaign of Tung Chee-hwa, then Chief Executive of Hong Kong.

(Transcript below were translation from Mandarin, words originally spoken in English are bold while in Cantonese are italic)

  • Cheung: President Jiang, do you think it’ll be good for Mr. Tung to serve another consecutive term?
  • Jiang: That’ll be good!
  • Reporter: Does the Central Government support him too?
  • Jiang: Of course yes!
  • Cheung: Then why mentioning it so early? Is there any other candidate?
  • Cheung: Recently the European Union has published a report... er... saying that Beijing will influence and interfere the rule-of-law in Hong Kong in some ways. What's your response to that?
  • Jiang: Never heard before.
  • Cheung: It’s Chris Patten who said that.
  • Jiang: Chris Patten... You the media should always bear in mind, don't "say it's the rain by just seeing the wind" [the idiom means "believing just by seeing"]. You [the media] should judge by yourselves after you have received the sources, got it? In case you say these things out of thin air for him, you may share the responsibility in some way.
  • Cheung: President Jiang, now in such an early time, you said that you supported Mr. Tung. Will that give people the impression that there is already an internal decision or had imperially appointed [or "handpicked"] Mr. Tung?
  • Jiang: There's no such implication whatsoever. Everything should be done in accordance with Hong Kong Basic Law and the election laws.
  • Cheung: But can you...
  • Jiang: Replying what you've just asked me, I can say "no comment." But you guys wouldn't be happy. So what should I do?
  • Cheung: Then Mr. Tung...
  • Jiang: What I said does not mean I imperially appointed him to serve the next term. You asked me whether I support him or not, I support him. I can tell you explicitly.
  • Cheung: President Jiang...
  • Jiang: You all... My feeling is that you the media need to learn more. You are very familiar with the Western set of values, but after all you are too young. Do you understand what I mean? Let me tell you, I've been through hundreds of battles. I've seen a lot. Which country in the West have I not been to? Every time... You should know Mike Wallace in the US. He's way above you all! He and I talked cheerfully and humorously, which is why the media need to raise your intellectual level. Got it or not?
  • Cheung: President Jiang...
  • Jiang: I'm anxious for you all, truly. You really... I... You guys are good at one thing. Wherever you go to all over the world, you always run faster than Western journalists. But the questions you keep asking are too simple, sometimes naïve. Understand or not?
  • Cheung: President Jiang, do you think...
  • Jiang: Got it or not?
  • Jiang: I'm very sorry. Today I am speaking to you as an elder. I am not a journalist. But I've seen too much. I have this necessity to tell you a bit of my life experience.
  • Reporters: But could you say why you support Tung Chee-hwa?
  • Jiang: I just... I just wanted to... that is every time I meet you all, I say, in Chinese we have saying, "make a fortune quietly." If I had said nothing, that would have been the best. But I thought I've seen all of you so enthusiastic. If I said nothing, that wouldn't be good. So, a moment ago you just insisted... In spreading the news, if your reports are inaccurate, you must be responsible. I did not say I am imperially appointing [Tung]. No such meaning. But you insisted on asking me whether I supported Mr. Tung or not. He is still the current Chief Executive. How could we not support the Chief Executive? Isn't it.
  • Reporters: But what about re-election?
  • Jiang: To serve another term, you must follow the law of Hong Kong, isn't it? You should follow Hong Kong's... Of course, our right to make the decision is also very important. Hong Kong SAR... Special Administrative Region belongs to the Central Government of China... People's Republic [People's Republic of China]. When it gets to the right time, we'll let you know our decision.
  • Reporters: But...
  • Jiang: Understand what I say? You all. Don't try to... make it a big piece of news, saying that "he has already been imperially appointed" and criticize me.
  • Reporters: Well no, but...
  • Jiang: You all! Naive!
  • Reporters: But, that is...
  • Security: Ok, ok...
  • Jiang: I'm angry! Let me tell you, it's not okay to be like this [annoying behaviour].
  • Security: Ok, ok, ok. Everyone please leave.
  • Jiang: Perhaps I just offend you today!

As quoted in "Former president Jiang Zemin unleashes a long tirade after a Hong Kong reporter asks him if Beijing had issued an "imperial order" to support Tung Chee-hwa in his bid to seek a second term as Chief Executive" (October 2014), Facebook and 江泽民怒斥香港记者完全版 - Youtube

Quotes about

  • After my speech, the President detached himself from the group of appalling old waxworks who accompanied him and took his place at the lectern. He then gave a kind of "propaganda" speech which was loudly cheered by the bussed-in party faithful at the suitable moment in the text.
    • Charles III, Entry in private journal about the handover of British sovereignty in Hong Kong in 1997 referring to President Jiang Zemin of China; as quoted in "Appalling waxworks", by Katie Nicholl and Dominic Turnbull Mail on Sunday (13 November 2005) p. 1
  • The elderly Deng was confident that no jeopardy existed for his strategy, and he stepped down from his burdensome offices in November 1989 while retaining the unofficial power of general political oversight. His protégé Jiang Zemin became leader. The process of economic reform slowed for a while. But Deng’s tour of southern provinces in 1992 revived it, and China’s transformation quickened again. Private companies sprang up in all cities and many villages. The most dynamic zones lay along the Pacific coast. Investment poured in from abroad. Multinational companies long excluded from Chinese industry and commerce set up in Beijing, Shanghai and Guanzhou. Gross domestic product rose exponentially as private enterprise from home and abroad injected the most up-to-date technology into an industrial sector which offered a cheap, educated, co-operative and disciplined labour force. By 2003 China share of the world’s gross production had risen to 12 per cent.
    • Robert Service, Comrades: A History of World Communism (2010)
Wikipedia has an article about:

General Secretaries and Chairmen of the Communist Party of China
Party Chairmen Mao Zedong · Hua Guofeng · Hu Yaobang
General Secretaries Chen Duxiu · Xiang Zhongfa · Bo Gu · Zhang Wentian · Hu Yaobang · Zhao Ziyang · Jiang Zemin · Hu Jintao · Xi Jinping